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Spaulding last won the day on September 18 2019

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  1. MG (middle-grade-- i.e. 2nd to 5th graders) urban fantasy/teddy bear epic. I tend to be wordy too, but I think that's been established. 😆
  2. *Taking something out of Gal's trash can, smoothing it out, pulling Gal back to her writing spot by her coffee mug, and pointing.* No idea-crumbling allowed. Here are other choices: Come back to it after first book becomes successful. Tighten the word count. Make it two novels, but have the first one stand alone. Make it a long novel after your first novel is successful. Bypass agents and publishers. (Hey, mine is a seven-book story, and I'm not letting agents or publishers change my mind. Too good a story to skip it. If Beatrix Potter and Amanda Hocking could do it, so can we.)
  3. As writers, unless our subject matter is to teach how to read, it's generally not our problem. After all, by the very nature of words, our audience is people-who-can-read. They've chosen what they want to read, (unless our books happen to show up on a school's must-read list), and our writing fits them. Generally speaking, that means it's not a chore to them to read what we write. Now as an MG writer, I can sneak in a little education into my story, but I can do that because my protag was so sheltered he never found out he shouldn't ask questions, and he knows very little about most things. So I was able to hint at one of the main problems with how reading is taught today, without preaching. (The main problem is something that's been going on for 30-50 years now. Reading is taught by memorizing words instead of teaching phonetics and meanings to prefixes and suffixes.) Protag got stuck on the word "pretentious," and someone tried telling him he had no "pretense." So a brief moment to explain how the words are related. But even I can't waste novel time to teach, because that's not what the audience wants when picking up a novel.
  4. Sometimes it sounds like I missed the question, but give me some time and you'll figure how it is related. I can't believe new books cost over $3.99. When I was first married, new books cost $1.99. But now they're between $12-$20 A POP! Who is nuts enough to pay those prices? 😵 Oh wait. A candy bar should only cost a quarter. A new car shouldn't cost more than $6,000. Oh yeah. I've become my grandparents when it comes to prices. 😳 I have to readjust my mind, because new books really are worth more than $10. And, as a T-shirt connoisseur (from back in the days when rock-concert T-shirts could cost all the way up to $8), I do remember the vinyl ones lasted longer than the cheapo ones. Consider this a marketing test. Have her print one for you and then buy one from online. I bet hers will last longer. AND, it's Made-in-America, so ethnically not a sweatshop venture. Your Human Beans are the kind of illustrations that will require lots of emulsion. The transfer will come off quicker than the vinyl. But can you really judge which is better unless you're holding them in your hands? And once you have judge, you know you can negotiate with her too, if you do bulk. And, if it doesn't work out, just be honest with her. I knew prices for stuff I made were stuck between no-one-will-pay-that-much and I'm-only-getting-paid-$.10 an hour, so it's not like we creatives don't know the math problem.
  5. I grew up in the time of books, so immediately think all learning comes through books. Then there were two things I tried to learn through books that couldn't work because it takes 1-2 years to publish a book and the info changed too quickly. SEO and coding for websites. (Ends up, I don't have a brain for coding anyway.) Business changes often too, so it may well be something that requires videos. (Although, as bad as business has gotten in the last couple of decades, I think he could easily become a CEO if he studied business books -- there's always audio -- from the first half of the 20th century.)
  6. Dad was about your age when he noticed his memory was off. (We noticed 10 years earlier, but he wouldn't believe us.) He could have been helped more had he believed us. Hubby was in his 50s when memory issues hit. He assumed the same thing you're assuming. Ye olde "getting older" gig. Is it something about guys that going to the doctor is just a no-go? Fortunately, something blocked the vision in one of his eyes for four months, so he finally went to an eye doctor, who demanded he go immediately to our primary. That blocked vision was caused by a broken blood vessel that if it had been in any other part of his head, it would have caused a stroke. He had skyrocketing blood pressure. While our primary told him that, she also got blood from him. That blood test told why his memory was going. (Middle-aged Christians do not get Hep C. Oh, but yes they do.) If I could run down the whole list of what could cause memory problems, my Dad's reason would be at the top of the list, and no where, until 20 years ago, would hubby's reasons be on that list. (Chemo for Hep C caused other disabilities, so that wasn't the only reason his memory comes and goes. But know this, when he is treated for one of the reasons, the brain fog lifts enough that he can think well again.) So, come on. Feel free to go see your doctor. It could be something easily treated that you never even considered. BTW, hubby is as seriously into vitamins and minerals as you are. He's also had the three main causes of death, but God saved him all three times. Good diet and vitamins don't save. They just mean we're being responsible. God saves.
  7. Lynn, 70? Wow. That's a true miracle he lives. Four years ago, I'm in the ER waiting to find out what's wrong with hubby, (and pretty sure it was a heart attack), when a nurse said to me, "I knew something was wrong when he came in. He was so gray." Gray? Didn't notice at all. Too busy noticing how hard it is for him to breathe. (BTW, it was both -- was and is a heart attack. The "congested heart failure" variety, which are creepy words for doctors to use without explanation after the heart attack part was over. Still creepy, even knowing what it means.) A couple of months ago, a resident tells him how nicely pink he was, after he was given his oxygen machine. He was lacking any form of pink before that because his oxygen was down below 90. Still cannot tell the difference, but at least he can now. Sooo, when they lose pink it is time to worry. If your hub gets to the oxygen machine level, I give you the words hubby's pulmonologist said. "We can give you all sorts of drugs that slow down the progress. BUT we can offer one thing that truly adds to your life. Oxygen." The machine is a royal pain to live with, but I do love he can get enough oxygen now. On the machine he averages 96.
  8. Pain level - 2. Like a recurring sinus headache. But, hey, not as bad as broken bones, or finding out your heater needs to be replaced. ;)
  9. You won't like this answer. (I sure don't.) What agents and publisher want is a stand-alone. Period. Especially for first-time writers, but, honestly, for all writers except those who have already proven success for series. They won't take it if it is longer, because the first book has to succeed to warrant a second book. And the second has to succeed to warrant the third, etc. Which answers how long they do want it. (Doesn't matter until the one before it is successful.) As for how to approach them on a longer-than? This was how I was told to do it: "THE COMFORT BAN is a 47,000-word MG urban fantasy stand-alone with series potential." Annoying, ain't it?
  10. In the 1970s, the Wall Street Journal was written at a 9th grade level, and most other newspapers were written at a 7th grade level. Very few people needed a reading level above 10th grade, because scientific/medical journals were written at that level. (I was going to college to become a high school English teacher, so this is stuff we had to memorize for the tests.) At the turn of the century, I looked it up again. WSJ was down to 7th grade, WaPo, NYT, and most "normal" newspapers were down to 5th grade reading level. (Then, Philly had two papers created by the same business. Our "normal" one, which was 5th grade reading level, and then out "sports paper" written at 3rd grade. Then again, one-third of Philadelphians are business-illiterate, and our public school system only demands a 4th grade reading level to graduate high school.) No telling how low it is now. BUT, that's not all bad news. I was a student of Dr. Richard Mitchell, and firmly believe we should use smaller words when they work. (That's use, not utilize. 😉) And, I have made it a point to write in plain English. I can do hoity-toity if needed, but I tend to avoid the hoity-toity crowd, so rarely need it. (Sometimes listen to lawyer friends, but they don't have to change their vocabulary for me, usually. Sometimes a meaning is required.) And since I do write for 2nd-5th graders, (MG), absolutely no need to talk down to them. They talk my levels.
  11. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
  12. Best shot at winning the contest and working a deadline. Have it "finished" one month before the deadline. (And "finished" means you've worked on it, put it aside, then reworked it, until you just can't make it any better.) Then have it critiqued (on here) for 3-5 days. Do not react to the critiques at all other than thank yous and asking for clarity if you don't get something. (You're now at three weeks from deadline.) Think over the crits for a few days, (making sure to get over the hurt feeling bits), then have it rewritten within one week. (Two weeks from deadline.) You're choice from here. Either repost for more crits, and then rework one last time a week before deadline, or leave it alone -- totally ignore it -- until there is one week before deadline. Then look at it with fresh new eyes. Three days before deadline, take what you have, change the font style and size, study it like you're an English teacher dying to deduct grades for every SPAG error. (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.) Seriously, keep count of how many booboos, and every booboo lessens it from an A+ paper to.... Hey, you're fixing the mistakes, but doing this makes you more aware of what kind of mistakes you're prone to do. Two days before deadline send it in. And, assuming a form that changes the format, read it again and check for SPAG again, because forms can cause typographical SPAG. Why two days? Because if you wait until the last minute, they'll be a glitch in their program or it will get swamped, and you can't entire through no fault of your own. And, also because logisitically speaking, the last people interviewed for a job, the last words in a setence/paragraph/chapter/book, and the last entries in a contest are always remembered more. No idea why, but it's true.
  13. I've done that twice to writers I didn't know. (Let them know something they didn't catch in their work.) I email/PM them and ask if they would mind a heads up from me. It eases them into listening without the feeling I'm being obno. Both were receptive, and then thankful. One became a friend. Since this is your friend let her know she can do it quietly, and it is often appreciated by the author. What we really don't like is when someone makes a public spectacle over something dumb we've done. Everyone likes help. No one likes to be embarrassed publicly.
  14. I'm pretty sure she doesn't think I'm nuts(ier than I am.) Dizziness is still getting better, but now I don't trust my balance. And it shows. So I will be going to a PT to relearn balance. (I haven't trusted my balance for a while, so can't hurt.) Bonus points that I can see PT once a week, so shouldn't affect our mini vacation at all. My tremors have gotten better. I went to a lousy doctor a few years ago, who told me nothing can be done for essential tremors, and I accepted that as truth. (Also told me statins were poison, until he saw how bad my choleroestrol and triglycerides were without them. Then suddenly, they weren't poison.) So my tremors had gotten progressively worst to the point of signing my name wasn't something I could do most the time. In the four months it took me to find out something can be done for the tremors and seeing the one who could help me? Well, I can sign my name again. So, going to hold off doing anything until it gets bad again. 😏 Somewhere in finding out all about me, the subject of migraines came up. I had one migraine when I was young. From the time I was 20, until I was 22. That too has progressively gotten better over the years. I'm down to a 2-4 hour headaches two times a month up to five times a week, depending on the weather. She offered meds that helped with that, but I'm fine with aspirin. One of those moments when I can see God's long-term plan on teaching me patience and acceptance. Wow! He's very determined to prepare me. Now looking forward to a mini vacation in two weeks. Thanks for orayers. Nice to feel connected to the rest of the world again.
  15. I was sure you were a converted pantser. At one time full-pants, but then learned the errors of your ways. (And this is why I'd be lousy as a detective. Can't read the signs. 😆) But you really are someone I keep seeing as always-on-the-right-track for writer's advice, but somehow half of it won't work for me. So now I see I'm not crazy, and neither are you. Same mountain. We just come at it on different sides.
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